Link Remix: Melancholic Cyborgs Singing in My Head.
Despite several days of overcast skies, the weather’s been pleasantly mild and dry this week in this corner of the west of Ireland. Among the stories that have most caught my eye and mind recently:
It’s gotten to the point where my phone now somehow knows more about me than anyone else in the world, including my own darling husband. My gadget has become a tiny black mirror, reflecting back how I see myself. Which means things are getting more complicated between us.ᔥ via Boston Magazine
Memories are not formed and then pristinely maintained, as neuroscientists thought; they are formed and then rebuilt every time they’re accessed. “The brain isn’t interested in having a perfect set of memories about the past,” LeDoux says. “Instead, memory comes with a natural updating mechanism, which is how we make sure that the information taking up valuable space inside our head is still useful. ᔥ via Wired
Our spread over the earth was fueled by reducing the higher species of vegetation to charcoal, by incessantly burning whatever would burn. From the first smouldering taper to the elegant lanterns whose light reverberated around eighteenth-century courtyards and from the mild radiance of these lanterns to the unearthly glow of the sodium lamps that line the Belgian motorways, it has all been combustion. Combustion is the hidden principle behind every artifact we create. The making of fish-hook, manufacture of a china cup, or production of a television program, all depend on the same process of combustion. Like our bodies and like our desires, the machines we have devised are possessed of a heart which is slowly reduced to embers. ᔥ via Quarterly Conversation
Writing is a miraculous technology all its own—a code that, when input through the optic nerve, induces structured, coherent hallucinations. An equivalent experience does not exist. Words have shape and musicality. They almost have a flavor. But they are too easily drowned out by stronger stimuli. ᔥ via n+1
Two Minds in One Brain: In this short, humourous and enlightening clip, in a discussion moderated by Alan “Hawkeye” Alda, neuroscientist Giulio Tononi talks about the odd phenomenon of “split-brain” patients with filmmaker Charlie Kaufman. ᔥ via World Science Festival
Sticking to brains and their two hemispheres: Pirate-Eye Pigeons Reveal How The Brain Talks To Itself.
there is also a lot of evidence suggesting that even if both hemispheres contribute equally to a cognitive task such as speech or creating a visual model of the world, each half may favor particular aspects of that task. For her part, Mann hopes to untangle these issues. And she thinks there is no better model than bird brains. ᔥ via Scientific American
The Fabric of the Cosmos with Brian Greene. I’ve only watched the first two of four episodes so far and aside from the occasionally silly (though often helpful) televisual gimmicry it’s a very good lesson in contemporary physics, both thought-provoking and thought-stopping. ᔥ via Open Culture.
In the week that #STOPJOSEPHKONY hysteria gripped the interweb, some needed perspective from netizens in Uganda: Can A Viral Video really #StopKony?
On a similar note, I watched a Ted talk recently by Nigerian novelist Chimamanda Adichie and her message was that if we hear only a single story about another person or country, we risk a critical misunderstanding.
“Power is the ability not just to tell the story of another person, but to make it the definitive story of that person”
Finally some music, a haunting piece from Gavin Bryars, the first release on Brian Eno’s Obscure record label in 1975, deserving of renewed interest in this the 100th anniversary year of the event commemorated therein: The Sinking of The Titanic. ᔥ via youtube
This symbol ᔥ used in places above is from a new project aimed at encouraging the culture of attribution for the stuff we share on the web. You can read more about it here from Maria Popova ᔥ Brainpickings: Introducing The Curator’s Code.